The Minister of Works, David Umahi, has said President Bola Tinubu cannot refund money spent on federal roads to state governments because of the current state of the economy.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that, speaking on Thursday during a visit to Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, Umahi stated that the intervention on the roads was alleviating the suffering of people.
Umahi said Tinubu cannot refund any state for now due to insufficient funds but noted that the records of work done would be checked when the country’s financial state improves.
The minister said he was touring federal government road projects in the South West and commended Makinde for his administration’s intervention in road projects.
He said, “Let me commend you for the jobs you are doing here when I see examples of what I am preaching, in terms of alleviating the sufferings of the people, whether federal or state roads.
“I have seen a number of roads, and you are not saying you must have all the approvals before doing it. Let me make it very clear that our economy right now will not permit any commitment of the federal government to repay states that are doing federal roads.
“It is still one government, and the aim of the government and the oath of office sworn to is to place the welfare of the people ahead of any other interest.
“So, when I see governors that are doing exactly that, like Governor Seyi Makinde, I commend him very highly. But, we can all keep the records of the federal roads done by the states. When the economy starts to breathe, we can revisit that.
“If you are waiting for due process by the federal government saying it will refund, such will not be done, but it is the people that are suffering.
“So, I want to make it very clear that my commitment may not be to guarantee that there will be repayment, but I will guarantee to take the records, and when the people are smiling, both the states and the federal government can revisit the matter, and that is what the governor here is doing, and we’re excited.”